I’d venture to say that if there’s one thing that all vegetarians and vegans have in common, whether they’ve been meatless for six days or six years, is the Helpful Ordering Friend (heretofore, HOF). You know, the person who you’ll go out to lunch with and they’ll try to help you find “something you can eat” before they even consider their own food. And it’s not always a friend, sometimes it’s a family member.
What’s difficult about this social situation is that the intentions of the HOF are noble and positive: they want to make sure that you, the vegetarian with an oh-so-limited choice of food, has something to eat at the restaurant of choice. It’s a nice gesture and should be appreciated. The thing is, after the tenth time it’s happened, it gets a little annoying.
How does one politely deflect an HOF’s assistance? I usually opt for the simple, “Thanks… I’m sure I can find something.” If they persist, I’ll ask back, “So, what are you going to have? Find anything good?”
To all potential HOFs: thanks for the concern. We appreciate it. We really do. But let us worry about digging through the menu and asking questions of the waiter. We’ll take care of it. Really and truly.